Feminist Ideals In Zora Neale Hustron´S Eyes Were Watching God

1530 words - 7 pages

America witnessed the birth of the Women’s Rights Movement over 150 years ago with the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848. Since this historic event, American women have not ceased fighting for equality and free will in every aspect of their lives. While first-wave feminism involved suffrage and political equality, second-wave feminism combatted social and cultural inequalities. Despite limitations to their personal freedom, women have overcome adversity to advocate for and acquire a more equal position in society. Among these progressive women stands Zora Neale Hurston, whose works are viewed as essential to the continuum of American feminist literature. One of the first great American black female writers, Hurston refused to concede to gender conventions and was often criticized for her deportment. And as a proponent for gender equality, Hurston penned her most acclaimed work Their Eyes Were Watching God. The bildungsroman novel follows the story of a fiercely independent African American woman named Janie Crawford and her evolution through several marriages. While enduring a life of poverty, hardship, and confinement, Janie searches for independence and escapes the narrow social restrictions of her sex. Through contrasting philosophies, drastic character foils, and subtle metaphors, Their Eyes Were Watching God serves as an allegorical representation of the struggles females encountered during the first and second wave Feminist Movements. As Janie’s quest for identity parallels female revolutionaries’ reform efforts for social and political equality, Hurston highlights the need for women to have personal voice and individuality despite a sexist environment that denounces those qualities.
Firstly, in order to criticize an existing rigid patriarchy and harsh societal paradigms, Hurston explicitly establishes disparities in her characters’ beliefs regarding traditional gender roles. Specifically, Janie’s grandmother highly prioritizes financial security and societal status, projecting a “stereotypical identity (wife) and a secure future (house and land) for Janie” (Meese 264). While Janie yearns for “idyllic union” and emotional fulfillment, Nanny maintains the “prevailing sexual and racial milieu” by arranging her marriage with wealthy landowner Logan Killicks (Meese 264). Hurston purposefully compares Janie’s progressive ideals to those of feminists who were coined as “New Women” who sought marriages based on equality. She directly relates this contrast in beliefs to feminist’s dreams of and efforts towards success and equality through female autonomy rather than material wealth and security under a man’s control. Furthermore, as Janie settles in her second marriage with Jody Starks, she becomes increasingly dissatisfied. Janie’s feelings of confinement and entrapment steadily rise as Jody orders her to remain introverted and shuttle between the general store and home (Moss and Wilson 3). He forces Janie to play the role of a beautiful and...

Find Another Essay On Feminist Ideals in Zora Neale Hustron´s Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

3964 words - 16 pages equality must be earned and is not given due to the values, ethics and morals that society promotes. This truth is supported and proven by narrative conventions and other writing techniques by Zora Neale Hurston in the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God. Zora Neale Hurston uses the theme of sexism in the novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, to demonstrate her truth. Hurston’s truth is that equality is not given due to society’s values and must be

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1279 words - 5 pages for herself, but to also find a man who could provide her with protection and a comfortable lifestyle, this way Janie did not have to worry about living a life Nanny lived. Their Eyes Were Watching God portrays Janie while she is married to three men; Logan Killicks, Joe “Jody” Starks, and Tea Cakes. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Hurston displays symbols in Janie’s relationships that help Janie direct her way through her

Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston

890 words - 4 pages The differences of the human race are unfathomable; Therefore, it goes without saying that arguments will arise, how we handle these situations reveals our character. The physical abuse implored on Janie in Zora Neale Hurston's novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, reveals true aspects of gender roles and marital relationships in the twentieth century. Hurston shows no hesitation when broaching such topics; I presume this is because of the

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1275 words - 5 pages In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston basically follows Janie for her whole life. Hurston, in the beginning of the book, said that women “forget all those things they don’t want to remember, and remember everything they want to forget. The dream is the truth. Then they act and do things accordingly.” As Huston said, by the time Jane returns to Eatonville, Janie has discovered herself through her relationships with Logan

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

1599 words - 6 pages Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston portrays the religion of black people as a form of identity. Each individual in the black society Hurston has created worships a different God. But all members of her society find their identities by being able to believe in a God, spiritual or other. Grandma’s worship of Jesus and the “Good Lawd,” Joe Starks’ worship of himself, Mrs

Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God

2315 words - 9 pages Zora Neale Hurston's They Eyes Were Watching God It’s no wonder that “[t]he hurricane scene in Zora Neale Hurston’s novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a famous one and [that] other writers have used it in an effort to signify on Hurston” (Mills, “Hurston”). The final, climactic portion of this scene acts as the central metaphor of the novel and illustrates the pivotal interactions that Janie, the protagonist, has with her Nanny and

Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

1401 words - 6 pages Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God      “’…but she don’t seem to mind at all. Reckon dey understand one ‘nother.’” A woman’s search for her own free will to escape the chains of other people in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. In the continuing philosophical debate of free will versus determinism, the question arises as to whether or not free will exists. Do people really have the capability of making

Overview: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

2131 words - 9 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God was written by Zora Neale Hurston and published in 1937. Hurston's book guides us through character Janie Crawford’s hectic journey while taking place in the 1900s. The story starts out with Janie, a middle-aged African American woman, returning to her hometown in Eatonville, Florida. Her surprise visit gets the town talking. They wonder where she had gone, what she was doing, and why she was gone so long. Janie’s

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

614 words - 2 pages can see, Tea Cake's traits played an important role in his marriage with Janie. His loyalty and immaturity isolated Tea Cake from ever other man. From teaching Janie to fish to saving her life and from spending her money and not going to the hospital Janie experienced many things from this man. Unlike her marriage with Logan Killicks and Joe Starks, her marriage with Tea Cake was like a trip to the horizon.BiblIographyHurston, Zora Neale., and Jerry Pinkney. Their Eyes Were Watching God. Urbana: University of Illinois, 1991. Print.

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Written by Zora Neale Hurston

1785 words - 7 pages Their Eyes Were Watching God, written by Zora Neale Hurston, is a novel about Janie Crawford, a “light” african american woman living in the 1930’s. Janie’s life is chronicled as she tells her friend her story: a pear tree, a dead mule, three marriages, and a hurricane later the reader and the listener, Phoeby, feels they had “‘done growed ten feet higher from jus’ listenin’’” (192) to her story. However, overall Hurston wants the reader to

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

1518 words - 6 pages comes in, it still originates as something external. Janie’s pulling in her horizon shifts the field of action to the interior. Her quest requires experiences of the world, of other people and places, but it is ultimately directed inward. Would you go the distance to find who you are? Works Cited Hurston, Zora N. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Harper Perennial, 2006. Print.

Similar Essays

Love In Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God

862 words - 3 pages Love in Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God The novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston (1937) is a search for self-fulfillment and true love. On a porch in a small town called Eatonville a story is told about an attractive African American women's journey. Her name is Janie Crawford. Her struggle to find companionship and herself starts as a young girl who had lost both of her parents. She lives with her

Mythology In Zora Neale Hurston's "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

1118 words - 4 pages Mythology is a key part of many of Zora Neale Hurston’s short stories and novels. She researched the stories of her home town and many other areas of the world. Hurston used this knowledge of myths and stories to help her carry them on to later generations in a form that almost everybody could relate to. Through out all of Zora Neale Hurston’s stories, mythology has been a crucial keystone. Her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, has been

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston 1290 Words

1290 words - 5 pages Zora Hurston was an African American proto-feminist author who lived during a time when both African Americans and women were not treated equally. Hurston channeled her thirst for women’s dependence from men into her book Their Eyes Were Watching God. One of the many underlying themes in her book is feminism. Zora Hurston, the author of the book, uses Janie to represent aspects of feminism in her book as well as each relationship Janie had to

Their Eyes Were Watching God By Zora Neale Hurston 2022 Words

2022 words - 8 pages grateful for Alice Walker because she reintroduced the world to Hurston in the 1980’s. Works Cited Campbell, Josie P. Student Companion to Zora Neale Hurston. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001. Print. Cappetti, Carla. “History, Mythology, and the Proletarian in Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Approaches to Teaching Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Other Works. Ed. John Lowe. New York: The MLA of America, 2009. 37-53. Print